Division set, Dodgers begin next phase vs. Orioles
With their seventh straight National League West Division title all wrapped up, all that's left for the Los Angeles Dodgers is to try to wrap up baseball's best record in order to stay home as much as possible in the postseason.
Los Angeles is four games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the National League but one game behind the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros for the best record in both leagues.
On Wednesday, fresh off their 7-3 win in Baltimore to clinch the division, the Dodgers will play the middle game of the three-game series against the Orioles.
Los Angeles actually would have won the division even if it had lost, as second-place Arizona fell 3-2 to the Mets in New York on Tuesday. The Dodgers had a magic number of one heading into Tuesday's games.
In the series opener, Los Angeles did what it has done all season long -- used lots of power. Corey Seager homered twice and Gavin Lux belted his first major league home run. The Dodgers and their power could keep proving very dangerous in Camden Yards, where the ball flies out in warm temperatures.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is having some injury problems. Third baseman Justin Turner is being bothered by soreness in his left ankle, and was initially listed in the starting lineup Tuesday but told manager Dave Roberts he could use another day to recover.
Turner hasn't played since Saturday, but Roberts would like to see if he can come back Wednesday.
"It's enough that he feels trying to give it another day will benefit him," Roberts said Tuesday, according to MLB.com. "It's one of those things where it's compromising just enough as far as on the offensive side taking swings earlier. And, obviously, that would affect the defensive play."
Also, Roberts said that Alex Verdugo won't do baseball work for two or three days while trying to get past back stiffness that popped up when trying to return from an oblique strain suffered last week.
Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.42 ERA) starts for the Dodgers on Wednesday. He's done a bit of everything for Los Angeles, starting 13 times in 28 games. This will be the first time he has pitched against the Orioles.
Baltimore, which has dropped six in a row and nine of 10, will hope to get a decent start Wednesday from John Means (10-10, 3.50 ERA).
This is the first time Means has faced the Dodgers. He has pitched well in his past four starts but has received little offensive support, going 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in that span.
The Orioles are hoping that Means can give the overtaxed bullpen a bit of a break as the starters have really struggled in the past week. The bullpen has pitched better, but the team would prefer not to use it as much.
On Tuesday, starter Ty Blach lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs, including two homers from Seager that drove in five. However, the Baltimore bullpen allowed just one run the rest of the way.
The Orioles had to stand and watch the Dodgers have a mild celebration on their field before partying in their clubhouse on Tuesday night.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said he thought his team might benefit from watching an opponent celebrate a division title, since that's where he wants his team to be in a few years.
And several of the Orioles did stand on the dugout steps and take a look at the Dodgers celebrating on the infield grass.
"That's a really good club," Hyde told the media after the game. "I'm glad our guys are watching this, because this is what it looks like in October."
--Field Level MediaHome